UPDATE 2: The hostage situation in Bataclan is over, according to The New York Times, following a raid by French police. Authorities killed two of the captors, who attacked police with hand grenades.
UPDATE: Eagles of Death Metal have issued a statement on Facebook. “We are still currently trying to determine the safety and whereabouts of all our band and crew,” they wrote. “Our thoughts are with all of the people involved in this tragic situation.”
Shots rang out Friday night at Bataclan, a music venue in Paris where Eagles of Death Metal were playing, with more than 100 people dying and many attendees taken hostage as a result of the terrorist attack, according to ITV News. Michael Dorio, brother of the group’s drummer Julian Dorio, told ABC News that there were approximately 1,500 people in the venue at the time of the attack.
“At first we heard gunshots,” eyewitness Jenny Watson, who was on the first floor of the venue, told France 24, according to The New York Times. “They were quite high pitched. At first I thought it was a joke. The shots kept going and going and going and people started screaming and ducking, hiding behind the chairs. That’s when we knew we needed to get out.”
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Fifteen people have died at the club, according to The Associated Press, and hostage taking is underway. The New York Times reported that a witness told French television that someone shouted “Allahu Akbar,” “God is greatest,” as the shooting occurred. Police are ordering bystanders off the streets around the venue.
Reports state that the band members, which include singer Jesse Hughes and Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, are safe. The wife of drummer Julian Dorio told The Washington Post that he and other band members are OK. “We are just holding our breath and saying prayers for everyone,” Emily Dorio said. “[Julian] called to say that he loved me and he was safe. Everyone on stage was able to get off.”
A Twitter user reported, though, that the group was onstage during the shooting. Rolling Stone has reached out to the group’s reps for more information.
French group Red Lemons posted to Facebook (via BrooklynVegan) that the members of Eagles of Death Metal were safe and not hostages. They added, “Mikel Ross, Eric McFadden, we were with your mates Jesse, [Hughes’ partner] Tuesday [Cross], the other musicians outside, they’re safe too, they took a cab.”
A friend of opening band White Miles posted on that group’s Facebook page that the group was OK. “Just heard from the band and they’re safe,” Ben Gazey wrote.
The shootout was one of multiple attacks that occurred in the city that night. The Times reported that another one occurred at the city’s sports stadium, where France’s soccer team was playing Germany, prompting the evacuation of President François Hollande. Another took place in a restaurant in the same general area.
President Hollande has subsequently declared a state of emergency in France and has ordered the borders closed, according to The Telegraph. “France must be strong in the face of terrorism,” he said. “Terrorist attacks are taking place in Paris. It’s a horror, We have mobilized all possible forces.” Obama has pledged his support to France.
Police officers have the AP that as many as 26 people had been killed in total as a result of the shootings and explosions. In addition to those dead at the concert, 11 were killed in a restaurant in the neighboring arrondissement. The Times is reporting a more conservative number of deaths, stating as many as 18.
The wave of violence is France’s deadliest terrorist attack in decades
The Times said the French media reported that people had been seen carrying Kalashnikov rifles. It also underscored that the attacks took place near the former headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical publication that saw 12 of its employees murdered in January by Islamist gunmen for its depiction of Muhammed.